Leader of self-styled U.S. citizen border patrol attacked in jail

By Julio-Cesar Chavez SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (Reuters) - The leader of an armed group that spent two months detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, drawing condemnation from civil liberties advocates, was hospitalized after he was attacked in jail, his lawyer and authorities said

Reuters April 25, 2019 02:08:08 IST
Leader of self-styled U.S. citizen border patrol attacked in jail

Leader of selfstyled US citizen border patrol attacked in jail

By Julio-Cesar Chavez

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. (Reuters) - The leader of an armed group that spent two months detaining migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, drawing condemnation from civil liberties advocates, was hospitalized after he was attacked in jail, his lawyer and authorities said.

Larry Hopkins, 69, was in a hospital with broken ribs after being attacked on Tuesday at the Dona Ana County Detention Centre in Las Cruces in southern New Mexico, his attorney, Kelly O'Connell, said.

The detention centre confirmed on Wednesday that Hopkins, a federal detainee, was "the alleged victim" of a Tuesday night attack and that the incident was under investigation.

"Hopkins was given medical attention for non life-threatening injuries," county spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said in an email, adding that Hopkins had been transferred out of the jail under the direction of the U.S. Marshals Service.

The attack occurred the same day Hopkins' United Constitutional Patriots group abandoned its border camp near Sunland Park, New Mexico, where they had spent two months detaining thousands of illegal migrants.

The American Civil Liberties Union last week accused Hopkins' group of being a fascist, white nationalist militia illegally detaining and kidnapping Central American families seeking asylum.

O'Connell said he had spoken with Hopkins by phone.

"This guy is very high-profile. So, if he gets put into jail and is immediately attacked after his first hearing just a few days after being put in there, can Dona Ana County correctional protect high-profile defendants?" O'Connell asked.

O'Connell said he did not know why Hopkins had been targeted. But a spokesman for his UCP paramilitary group said he believed it was because of his activity at the border.

"They put him in a pod cell with a group of people and they had just got done watching the article about the ACLU writing about him being racist, and as a result of that he was attacked," UCP spokesman Jim Benvie said in a video posted online.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, said on Friday the UCP's activities had to stop, and the FBI arrested Hopkins the next day on gun charges based on a 2017 search of his home.

Hopkins is being held without bail at least until an arraignment and detention hearing on Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where a judge will decide whether he will have the opportunity to post bail, O'Connell said.

Benvie said the UCP was moving to another campsite in a couple of days and would continue to support the U.S. Border Patrol, which has said it does not support private citizens acting as law enforcement.

(Additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.